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Preventive Cancer Screenings Save Lives

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases in the US this year. That’s about 4,600 each day.

Early detection can save lives. But many people wait too long to get the recommended screenings. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown or spread. And this can make it harder to treat.

When caught early, survival rates can be as high as 90% for many cancers.

So be proactive! Get the right preventive screenings at the right times.


Screening Guidelines for 3 of the Most Common Cancers

You can reduce your risk of cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices. And following preventive screening guidelines can help make sure any problems are found early.

Here’s a quick screening guide for detecting breast, lung, and colorectal cancers —3 of the most common cancers among American adults.


Breast Cancer Screening Women 40 — 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year. In Delaware, women can begin screening at 35.
Women 45 — 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55+ can switch to a mammogram every other year or choose to continue yearly mammograms.
These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer.
If you have a higher risk of breast cancer due to hereditary or other factors, your doctor may recommend you start earlier.
Lung Cancer Screening Recommended each year for adults 55 — 80, who have a 30-pack-a-year history of smoking, currently smoke, or have quit within the past 15 years.
Colorectal Cancer Screening Adults should be screened according to their doctors’ recommendations beginning at 50. These guidelines are for adults at average risk of colorectal cancer.
If you have a higher risk of colorectal cancer due to heredity or other factors, your doctor may recommend you start earlier and/or be screened more often.

Source: US Preventive Services Task Force


Breast Cancer

In the US, about 220,000 cases of breast cancer in women are diagnosed each year.

Many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. That’s why regular breast cancer screening is important.

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women 45 — 54 get mammograms every year. Women 55+ should get mammograms every 2 years, or they may continue getting yearly screenings.

If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your doctor to decide if you should start screening mammograms at a younger age or get screened with MRIs along with mammograms. High risk includes a family history of breast cancer, particularly women with a mother, sister, or daughter who has or had breast cancer.


Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. It is the 2nd most common cancer in the US, after skin cancer.

Your doctor may recommend a chest X-ray or CT scan if you are at high-risk of developing lung cancer. Adults 55 — 80 who currently smoke, have a 30-pack-a-year history of smoking, or who have quit within the past 15 years are considered to be at high-risk. The American Cancer Society does not recommend tests to check for lung cancer in people who are at average risk.

Not all lung cancers can be prevented. But about 85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking or being around those who smoke.  If you stop smoking before cancer develops, your damaged lung tissue can gradually repair itself.

No matter what your age or how long you’ve smoked, quitting may lower your risk of lung cancer and help you live longer.


Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. It is also the 3rd most common cancer for men and women.

Precancerous polyps and early-stage colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.  And your risk increases as you get older. So the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults 50+ be screened for colorectal cancer.

Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if you have a family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer or certain other health conditions. If you are at higher risk, you may need screenings earlier or more often.

Several different tests can be used to find polyps and colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor about when to begin screening, which tests are right for you, and how often you should be tested.


Take Early Detection Seriously

When risk factors and cancer are detected early, treatment is more successful, less painful, and less costly.

Regular self-exams and professional screenings can help.

So talk to your doctor about what screenings are recommended for you. And check with your health insurer to see which screenings are covered. While some tests may involve some out-of-pocket costs, many screenings are covered at 100%.

For information on these and other cancer screenings, visit the American Cancer Society.


*This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns regarding a medical condition. Health plan coverage is subject to the terms of your health plan benefit agreement.